Meditation is an excellent practice for mindfulness. In addition to being beneficial for your mental health, it also reduces stress, increases calmness and clarity and promotes happiness. Learning how to meditate is straightforward, and the benefits can come quickly. Here are 10 tips to help you get started:
Choose a time to meditate, and stick to it
Choosing a specific time of day to meditate makes it easier to establish the practice as a habit. By establishing it as a habit, you’ll be more likely to do it every day. Setting aside time for formal meditation is an important way to establish a routine and get comfortable with the practice. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.
Create a designated space to meditate
Having a designated space to meditate can help train the body and mind to feel more comfortable, allowing you to more easily transition into meditation. It is important to keep this space clean and uncluttered. This can nourish a more relaxed state of mind and help make meditation feel special and important. If you want to personalize the space more, you could add plants, figure out the ideal light setting, and music set-up.
Take a couple moments to wind down and clear your mind
At the start of your practice, take some time to wind down and clear your mind. This can help keep the mind from wandering back to something else, and allow you to focus more clearly on what’s present.
Start with a few deep breaths to calm the body
Taking a few deep breaths when you begin your practice can trigger a relaxation response, making your body feel safe and at ease. Paying attention to your breathing will be important throughout the meditation, and this type of mindful breathing can lower stress levels in the body.
Try not to fidget or move too much during meditation
It’s common to feel restless and want to change positions throughout your meditation. If it’s too distracting or you’re in pain, feel free to readjust. But try not to let your position become a distraction in itself.
Get comfortable with discomfort
People who are new to meditation often experience negative emotions like anxiety, restlessness, and irritation while practicing. Rather than trying to ignore and resist these emotions, allow yourself to feel them. Try not to resist. Over time, the mind learns not to get caught up in these negative patterns of thought.
Just keep breathing
The essence of mindfulness meditation is simply about bringing your awareness back to your breath, over and over again.
Do a body scan
In addition to breathing, another component of meditation is being mindful of your body. Focus your attention on one body part at a time. Start from your feet and scan up to your head.
Acknowledge your emotions
It’s normal to feel happy and refreshed after meditating, but it’s also normal to feel a bit down. It’s important to acknowledge any emotions, good or bad, that you are feeling. By acknowledging them, we are able to better recognize these emotions in daily life. If you are feeling a bit down afterwards, take the moment to thank yourself for practicing self-care.
Smile when you’re done
When you’re finished with your meditation, smile. Be grateful that you had this time to yourself and that you stuck with your commitment. Be proud of yourself for taking time to get to know yourself better.